Thursday, April 25, 2013

Barb Rentenbach

Barb's presentation was unlike anything I've ever experienced before. At the beginning, she showed us how she uses facilitated communication, consisting of her typing her thoughts out letter by letter. While slow and tedious, it's the only way for her to convey her thoughts. She typed out the words, "dear utk autism is my prism not my prison." From there, her psychologist/facilitator proceeded to explain her idea of autism. Rather than it being a mental disorder or illness, she explains that it's simply a different type of brain. While us "normals" often see autism for its negatives, we should instead focus on the positive aspects. Barb feels as though "normals" go through life too quickly and forget to focus on the small, beautiful things in life that people with autism always notice and appreciate. I really enjoyed the presentation and learned a lot from it, however, I wish that Barb played a larger role in it. It would have been nice to hear more of her thoughts because my favorite part of the presentation was the Q&A. Her intelligence and sense of humor is amazing; she embodies the saying "don't judge a book by its cover."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Chapter 5- Individual Differences and Special Education Needs

You have now read several views about intelligence. What do you think about intelligence? Is it one trait or many? More heavily influenced by nature or nurture? A fixed capacity or a modifiable ability? Articulate your views in a paragraph of 6-8 sentences.
In my opinion, intelligence is many traits combined in that it involves the complex interaction of many different mental processes. It's difficult to say whether or not intelligence is more heavily influenced by nature or nurture because so much of nature is affected by nurture, especially when talking prenatally. However, I would say that it's more influenced by one's environment because that is what can completely hinder a child or enable them to flourish. I also feel as though intelligence is a modifiable ability because it's always changing due to what one is doing and experiencing. Intelligence is all about using prior knowledge to understand new situations and apply what one knows to those new experiences. It's always changing and responding to new situations and problems. I agree most with Sternberg's Triarchic Theory because I see people every day that are more intelligent in one of the domains- analytical, creative, or practical intelligence. For example, I'm stronger in the area of practical intelligence rather than the other two.

English Language Learners and Immigrant Students

Teacher Preparation and The Education of Immigrant Children
A. Lin Goodwin
  • Immigrant students are experiencing difficulties adjusting to their new life in the U.S.
  • Oftentimes are lumped into the category of "students of color"
  • Teachers need to become prepared to educate these immigrant children because they are currently unprepared and overwhelmed
  • Teachers should promote cultural diversity in their classroom
Significant Quotes:
  • "Currently one in every five children enrolled in school is an immigrant." (157)
  • "Researchers have also found that many teachers joining the profession exhibit parochial attitudes and articulate a preference for teaching children like themselves in environments with which they are familiar." (158)
  • "Teachers continue to be predominantly White, female, monolingual, and middle class. Teachers of color, despite recruitment efforts, constitute less than 10% of the teacher's force." (158)
  • "Their participation in school quickly introduces them to (and seduces them into) "American" culture, which often results in children feeling ashamed of their home cultures." (165)
  • "Knowledge about their histories, culture, and life stories of immigrant families will be critical for teachers if they are to respond in culturally relevant and sensitive ways to immigrant children." (169)
  • What are some strategies to help students embrace their culture in the classroom rather than assimilating to American culture?
  • As educators, how do we step outside of what we know and become comfortable teaching children that are so different from us?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chapter 3 Song Activity

"Lean On Me"- Bill Withers
Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain, we all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there's always tomorrow

Lean on me when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend, I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need somebody to lean on

Please, swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won't let show

You just call on me, brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend, I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need somebody to lean on

You just call on me, brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

If there is a load
You have to bear that you can't carry
I'm right up the road, I'll share your load
If you just call me

2. Kohlberg's stage 3 level of moral reasoning: good boy/good girl (pg. 94)
3. This concept explains that when people reach this stage of moral reasoning, they begin making decisions based on what actions will please others, especially authority figures. They become more concerned about maintaining relationships through sharing, trust, and loyalty, and they consider other people's perspectives and intentions when making their decisions.
4. I focused more on the part of the theory that states people in this stage are concerned about maintaining relationships through sharing, trust, and loyalty. "Lean On Me" is all about having someone in your life that you can lean on and trust during hard times. While one may be going through a difficult time, there are always people around you to count on and ask for help.
5. I hope that my future classroom is a safe environment where my students feel like they have a group of 20 trusting and loyal companions. Learning can't take place in an environment where children don't feel accepted or trusted by their peers. One way I hope to promote peer acceptance and trust is to promote individuality in my classroom. For example, if a student speaks another language, I will include books or materials that contain some of that language so that student can become the expert. I never want my students to be afraid of being unique or different from their peers because those differences are what makes them great!

Chapter 3- Personal and Social Development

Personal and social development can have a major influence on both individual student learning and the learning environment as a whole. Identify a case from the CSEL guidelines that you would like to address in your paper. Then, examine the possible developmental factors that could be influencing your target student(s) or classroom in the case study. Consider all dimensions of personal and social development, including cognitive, language, social, and moral development.
In the elementary case study, Lisa is having trouble working in cooperative learning groups. When she isn't given her desired role, she refuses to participate in the activity. It seems as though Lisa hasn't yet developed to Erikson's industry vs. inferiority stage of development. This stage, usually occurring in elementary school, is when children learn to persevere at tasks until they are completed and put their work before pleasure. It's clear that Lisa doesn't understand the concept of working on something because it needs to get done, even if she may not enjoy her role.
Check out tables 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3 with particular attention to the age ranges you are interested in teaching. Identify your personal favorite ways that an educator can promote a child's sense of self, perspective taking, and moral reasoning.
Sense of Self
Provide opportunities for students to look at one another's work only when everyone has something to be proud of.
Perspective Taking
As students read literature, ask them to consider why various characters might behave as they do.
Help students resolve interpersonal conflicts by asking them to consider one another's perspectives and to develop a solution that addresses everyone's needs.
Moral Reasoning
Use prosocial adjectives (ex. kind, helpful) when praising altruistic behavior.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Chapter 2 - Cognitive and Linguistic Development

One of the most cited theories of human development is that of Swiss biologist Jean Piaget. After reading about Piaget's basic assumptions (p. 27-32) look with particular attention at the stage of child development you would like to teach. How might you accommodate those students who have not yet developed to this stage?
As an elementary education minor, I plan to teach children ages 7-12, which lies within the concrete operational stage of Piaget's theory on child development. During this time, children can demonstrate logical and concrete reasoning. Children are becoming less egocentric and are more aware of their surroundings. They are also learning that their inner thoughts and feelings are very unique and others don't always understand or share those feelings. Students that have not yet reached this stage and are still in the preoperational stage base their thinking on intuition rather than logic. These students will have a difficult time grasping complex things such as time, comparing, cause and effect, etc. I will have to be sure to give more one-on-one attention to these students when teaching the complex concepts. I may also modify their assignments to best suite them. For example, when teaching complicated material like time, I'd be sure to use visuals and incorporate creativity into the assignments because these things cater to children in the preoperational stage.

The other most cited theory of human development belongs to Russian developmentalist Lev Vygotsky. Vygotssky's theory of cognitive development leads us to expect greater diversity among our same-aged students than Piaget. Given these two influential theorists' ideas on cognitive development, how might you accommodate students who are not yet working at the level of their peers?
I feel as though the best way to accommodate these students that are different levels would be to do whole class peer tutoring. Peer tutoring is a great way to address students at all levels. It also encourages socializing with peers, which Vygotsky expresses is very important to a child's development. I would also be sure to differentiate my instruction and assessment so my students are in the least restrictive environment.

Theories in educational psychology promote the idea that language plays a critical role in cognitive development. Examine Table 2.2 (p. 51), paying particular attention to the age range that you are interested in teaching. Consider how you might incorporate or adapt the strategies presented for use with your own students.
Because language plays such an important role in a child's cognitive development, I will be sure to include a word wall in my classroom. I want my classroom to be a print-rich environment so it will have labels throughout the room, posters expressing content and ideas, and a classroom library. My students will also have very rich imaginations so I will be sure to include things like reader's theatre which makes reading fun and creative.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Chapter 10 - Social Cognitive Theory

Which of the learning activities/skills can you think of that lend themselves to learning through modeling?
There are numerous activities and skills that can employ modeling. One skill that comes to mind is practicing critical thinking skills and multiple choice problems. Teaching process of elimination is a can be done by displaying a multiple choice problem on the board and having the teacher walk through the process of elimination step-by-step. Afterwards, the students can then do their own multiple choice problem. Another skill that comes to mind is manners. If you want your students to be kind and polite to one another then one should model using good manners with the students as well as with their colleagues.

How might self-efficacy and self-regulation contribute to the intervention plans you use in your case study?
With my case study, I would help Lisa develop some self-regulation plans so she can realize when she is off-task. If Lisa realizes the number of times that she is disruptive or not paying attention in class, then we can discuss different ways of changing the things that she does. Also, I want to increase her self-efficacy by showing the gratification one gets after actively participating in group projects. I would also try to pick activities that I know she is particularly interested in to foster her self-efficacy.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chapter 9- Behaviorist Views of Learning

How would you define successful mastery of your lesson objectives from a behavioral view of learning?
In my own words, successful mastery of my lesson objectives would be my students understanding the taught material to my standards. For example, if my lesson objective was that my students would learn how to find the area of a square, mastery would be attained if my students could find the area of 9 out of 10 given squares. From a behaviorist point of view, mastery would be attained due to the students' environment. For example, the students would learn and understand how to find the area of a square due to my aural explanation, examples on the board, their graphic organizer containing how to find the area of different shapes that they could refer to, and the peers around them that they were able to work with. So essentially, the difference between my definition and a behaviorist's would be they attribute it to solely environmental factors while I would attribute students' mastery to other things as well like the social aspect of my classroom and the children's' self-efficacy.

Consider your CSEL intervention case study. Are there tools from a behaviorist view for either encouraging productive behaviors or discouraging undesirable behaviors that you could apply to the case? What are they?
The elementary case study involves Lisa, a student who is causing problems in her small group during cooperative learning activities. She gets angry with her group members when she doesn't get the job she wants and then refuses to contribute to the group's learning. She constantly interrupts others and doesn't pay attention when her group is preparing for class presentations. One behaviorist element that I could apply to Lisa is negative punishment. For example, when I notice that Lisa refuses to participate, I could remove her from the group and have her work on the assignment alone. I could also try cueing when students should be preparing for presentations so Lisa is reminded of what she should be working on.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Chapter 8- Complex Cognitive Processes

Consider a lesson plan you might use. Which metacognitive skills/abilities are involved as students gain facility/knowledge in this domain?
One lesson plan that I have in mind could be a third grade science lesson about matter. If my students were doing an experiment determining how different conditions affect different types of matter, I would start the experiment with my students making their own individual hypotheses. After the experiment, I would have my students reflect on whether or not their hypotheses were correct. If they were correct, I'd have them explain why they came to that conclusion. If they were incorrect, I'd want them to identify why their hypothesis wasn't accurate. This would cause my students to think about their learning and help them understand why they came to the conclusion that they did.

Think of an activity or lesson component that explicitly teaches one or more metacognitive and one or more problem solving skills.
Any elementary math lesson can teach metacognitive and problem solving skills. Students are not only encouraged to understand and learn the math skill but also recall and explain how they came to their answer. Oftentimes students are given a math equation and asked to provide an answer and explanation. This causes students to think more about the step-by-step process of solving the problem as well as thinking about their thinking. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chapter 7- Knowledge Construction

Make a list of the sequence skills necessary for ultimate mastery of the content of your lesson through a constructivist approach?
When teaching a 3rd grade language arts lesson about punctuation and capitalization within a letter, I could definitely use a constructivist approach. We've discussed a lot about authentic activities and their importance in the classroom. After direct instruction and days of practicing punctuation and capitalization in addresses and letters, I would have my students write, address, and mail their own letter. Having my students write this letter will show the importance of the grammar lesson and how it can be applied to the world around my students.  A sequence of skills would be: learning which words need to be capitalized (names, street names, greetings, salutations), learning where punctuation is necessary (comma after the greeting, comma after the city), and lastly writing a letter which is grammatically correct.

Which of these learning activities/skills lend themselves to student's individual or group construction? How might you structure learning activities that lead students to discover these skills/these principles?
The skill of correctly addressing and writing a letter is what contributes to student's individual construction the most because it is a useful skill that will be used for the rest of their life. Because this is an authentic task, it will be more interesting for my students to learn and will be easier to remember. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chapter 6- Learning and Cognitive Processes

What are the essential skills and/or learning outcomes you want your students to know and be able to do that relate to cognitive learning?
One skill that I want my students to walk away from my class with is the ability to pay attention. This cognitive learning chapter talked a lot about memory and how paying attention is key to remembering things. However, paying attention isn't as easy as it seems. The book gives the example of reading a book. While your eyes may be looking at the words on the pages and reading each word, unless your mind is focused on the novel and not daydreaming about what happened earlier in the day, the information cannot be stored. I want my students to be able to know when they are paying attention and when they are not. A big part of the elementary years is teaching students to re-read the parts that confuse them or that they accidentally skimmed so learning how to pay attention and focus at the task at hand is important. Another skill I want my students to practice and learn is mnemonics. Mnemonics area great way to help students remember classroom material that they may have no prior knowledge of. Throughout my 16+ year career as a student I've used mnemonics to help me so I know that they can help my students. In the second grade I learned My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas to remember the order of the planets from the sun (back when Pluto was a planet.) Since then, I've always utilized mnemonics to help with tricky concepts.

Example of how one teacher teaches the metric staircase

How might your knowledge of the memory processes guide your instructional decisions?
Something that really stood out to me in the teacher project from this week was Matt's explanation of how students only pay attention to what interests them. The example was that when teaching a social studies lesson, boys will be more inclined to listen to the war aspect of the lesson and ignore the rest. This really resonated with me because I used to be one of those students! When we would read books as a class, I could only relate to the girl characters and completely ignore the boy characters. During a social studies lesson I was intrigued by the people and places and didn't listen to a thing about the dates. As a teacher I must keep this in mind so the material caters to all students. I'll also be sure to emphasize details and materials that I know my students aren't as interested in.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Chapter 15- Summarizing Students' Achievement and Abilities

Turn to p. 559 in Ormrod’s text.  Now, imagine that you are meeting with Ingrid’s grandmother today to explain her scores on the recent standardized achievement test pictured at the bottom of p. 559.  What will you tell her about Ingrid’s performance? her strengths? her weaknesses? 

When explaining Ingrid's scores to her grandmother, I would begin with elaborating on the areas in which she excelled and the areas that she needs to work on. According to the percentiles, I would express that Ingrid is doing very well in reading comprehension, science, and social studies. On the other hand, she needs to work on spelling, math computation, and math concepts. 

If grandmother asks you what she could be doing at home to help strengthen Ingrid’s skills, what will you suggest?

One thing that I would suggest Ingrid's grandmother to do is practice her spelling words with her each week. One doesn't become a good speller unless they practice and learn from their mistakes. I would also ask that Ingrid's grandmother help her with her math homework. I'd explain that the math can sometimes be difficult so she should send a note to school with Ingrid if she has any questions about the methods being taught in class. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chapter 14 - Creating Assessment Strategies

This week we discussed assessment and the different ways we can assess our students, both formally and informally. While I've never been a huge fan of standardized tests as a student, I understand their importance now that I'm becoming a teacher. However, as an educator, I'd like to incorporate multiple forms of assessment so my students have many opportunities to excel in my classroom.

For example, if I was teaching a lesson about fairy tales to second graders, I would use many ways to test their knowledge. In this lesson, I would incorporate sequencing, differentiating between details and main ideas, comparing and contrasting, and writing narratives. With a lesson this broad, there are countless ways to assess my students.
Informal: Each student writes their own fairy tale (should include the main parts of a fairytale- characters, illustrations, plot, conflict, resolution, moral).
Informal: Students are put into groups and given the task of writing a fairy tale, creating a script, and performing their tale for the class.
Informal: Read a fairy tale aloud to the class and have a group discussion about key parts of the book and what makes it a fairy tale.
Formal: Read a fairy tale aloud to the class, discuss the major components of a fairy tale, and test the students on the material at a later date.

Norm-referenced assessments, which compares a students' performance to their peers, and criterion referenced assessments, which shows what students have/have not learned compared to standards, are a prevalent part of our education system. While these two types of assessments are very different, they both have positive and negative aspects to them. Norm-referenced assessments are a good way to see which students are understanding the material and which students are struggling. While these assessments don't show specifics, it can indicate problem areas in the classroom. Criterion referenced assessments are a fantastic way to see what exactly students are understanding within the material. Teachers can use these to see material that may need to be retaught.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Chapter 13 - Learning Environment

How will you create a learning environment that is conducive to learning?
In my classroom, I will be sure to arrange my classroom in a way that allows a lot of room for movement so I can move the desks when necessary. I'd also like to arrange the desks in a way that promotes class discussion with one another. I'll probably end up putting the desks into small groups so it's conducive for group work. At the beginning of the school year my class and I will discuss possible rules for the class and make a poster of our rules to keep on the wall. I think my students will be more prone to following the rules that they help create rather than following rules that I made before getting to know them. As a teacher, I will always be monitoring what my students are doing by walking around the room, making myself available to answer questions and give clarification.

Now consider your CSEL case study.  Develop a full continuum of responses for dealing with the misbehavior of your case (ignoring through dealing with serious and repetitive infractions).
In my case study, my third graders are split into small cooperative groups, however, one group is struggling. The group that is lacking consists of a few students and Lisa, a student who refuses to participate unless she is given the role that she wants. Lisa constantly argues with and interrupts her group members, causing them to fall behind the rest of the class. One thing that I could do is ignore the issue altogether. Another thing I could do is  allow my students to give performance feedback on their group members. They will all be working toward a common goal so Lisa may be more likely to listen to her peers than me. I could remove Lisa from the group and make her responsible for all of the group work. This would show her that it's extremely beneficial to be in a group and hopefully make her change her mind about the group work.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Chapter 11- Motivation

How might you enhance motivation and affect in your students using the theories of motivation?
As a future elementary school teacher, I agree most with the social cognitive theory. My students will be largely motivated by the consequences that follow their behaviors or the behaviors of their peers. Eventually, they will acquire self-efficacy and will then be able to set personal goals. One way I will enhance motivation in my students will be to include amusing classroom topics that relate to my students' interests, arousing their curiosity. Another way that I can increase their motivation is to give them opportunities to interact with their peers whether it be through role-playing activities, classroom debates, or group projects. Lastly, I want my students to focus more on improving themselves as learners rather than comparing their successes and failures to fellow students. This will not only increase their motivation but also help develop their self-efficacy.

Which theories of motivation are most helpful and instructive for you?
Personally, the behaviorist theory is the most helpful and instructive for me. As a child, I was given many positive/negative reinforcements and positive/negative consequences in order to illicit good behavior. As a child, these reinforcements and consequences motivated me to do well. As an adult, I've become intrinsically motivated rather than rely on outside factors.